Priceless works outed for good in reimagined NSW State Library

Friday 5 October 2018

An extraordinary salon‐style hang of over 300 priceless paintings will be a permanent fixture in the ‘new’ State Library following its remarkable $22 million transformation.

According to State Librarian Dr John Vallance: “Thanks to the support of our generous benefactors, the Library’s historic Mitchell Building has been reimagined with beautiful new galleries, educational studios and inspiring informal spaces where visitors can see more of our amazing treasures than ever before.”

“The State Library holds one of the nation’s richest collections of Australian art. Until now, these remarkable paintings — including many by internationally renowned artists like Conrad Martens, John Glover and Judy Cassab — have been largely unseen,” says Dr Vallance.

“We’re excited to share this impressive collection with the public in our first‐ever permanent exhibition, Paintings from the Collection.”

The selected works — ranging in date from 1790s to today — feature portraits of the extraordinary and the everyday, rare and recent views of Sydney and the harbour, streetscapes showing life in our developing cities and suburbs, and burgeoning rural townscapes.”

“Each painting tells us something about our past; the ambitions and preoccupations of our ancestors, the changing landscapes of Australia, the traditions that were carried across to Australia from all parts of the worlds, as well as the changing trends in portraiture,” says Dr Vallance.

Paintings from the Collection will be accompanied by a documentary on the fascinating behind‐the‐scenes story on Maurice Felton’s 1841 portrait of Sophia Statham‐O’Brien, the 21 year‐old daughter of one of Sydney’s first newspaper proprietors.

Download full media release (158KB PDF)